England Head Coach, Tom Wenham is looking for his squad to embrace the tough challenges that come as part of a World Championships campaign after last weekend’s international double-header in Manchester.
England got off to slow start in their opening game against Germany before turning it around to win 7-6, and were also behind at the end of the first quarter against Wales before again finishing out 15-5 winners with just a 15-minute turnaround between the matches.
“We just spoke about embracing the challenge”, Wenham said after the games.
“We know that World Championships are tough, playing game after game and we want to try and replicate that, making these days incredibly tough for the players”.
On a sweltering day in the rare northern sun, England laboured in the first quarter of the Wales contest, trailing 1-2 at the ¼ time before coming out firing to go on a 5-0 streak and take control of the game.
“As part of embracing these challenges, we need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
“The mental battle that when your body’s tired and you’re feeling fatigue, you’ve got the mental strength to push on and try and find another level of performance, and we started, certainly offensively, to click a bit more in the following quarters”.
Wenham’s overall assessment of the weekend was a feeling of frustration, although once again highlighted the team’s growing habit of grinding out victories without quite being at their best.
“Despite not being at their best, we see enough flashes to show that the level of performance needed, those heights are attainable – the challenge is doing that on a consistent basis”.
The two games over the weekend took the squad’s tally of international games over the last month to seven, after their five-match series against Israel in April and will head to Barcelona in June for further warm-up games including against NCAA giant Notre Dame.
“We’ve enormously boosted our match schedule this time round, whereas in previous cycles we’ve only played three or four games and struggled for competitive opposition, even in the last month we’ve played seven competitive games.
“It’s been a deliberate policy, a deliberate choice, what you learn on the playing field is very different from what you learn on the training pitch”.